Hempel, coatings supplier to the wind energy industry, announced the launch of Hempablade Edge 171, a new coating for leading edge protection (LEP) on wind turbine rotor blades. According to Hempel, Hempablade Edge 171 has the highest rain erosion performance data on the market for a liquid LEP, some of the lowest dry film thicknesses, provides long-term protection against rain erosion, and reduces time and costs during application.

The leading edge of a wind turbine blade is exposed to extremely high airflow speeds, even exceeding 300 kmh. At these speeds, impact from rain can cause significant coating erosion or even composite damage. In severe cases, the erosion may lead to a loss of aerodynamic performance and a 2-3% drop in annual energy production. This loss of performance and need for maintenance makes leading edge erosion one of the wind industry’s most significant maintenance costs and performance challenges. In the European offshore wind energy sector alone, this equates to a loss in productivity of around €56-75 million a year.

Hempablade Edge 171 helps wind turbine operators and applicators overcome these issues by protecting the leading edge from rain erosion, as Lars Rindom Jensen, head of Solutions for Wind Blades, explained, “Hempablade Edge 171 is one of the simplest LEP solutions on the market to apply, yet able to withstand the toughest environmental conditions. It provides exceptional protection against rain erosion and composite damages. This extends the interval between maintenance and repairs, giving operators more uptime and lower maintenance costs.”

Hempablade Edge 171 requires some of the lowest dry film thickness on the market – just 150 microns – and only needs one or two coats to ensure high protection. This increases application speeds, allowing customers to maintain more blades with the resources available.

“Hempablade Edge 171 has been developed as we listened to the industry challenges and requirements,” said Jensen. “Its low thickness reduces LEP consumption, application time and drying time, so applicators can work faster, whether they are onsite or in the blade production. It also has a wide application window – from 5-35 °C – which means applicators can extend the maintenance season and working day. The result is higher productivity and less blade downtime during maintenance.”

Hempablade Edge 171 is Hempel’s first LEP coating, developed using the company’s in-house Rain Erosion Test (RET) facility. Since 2019, Hempel has used this facility to optimize the product development and LEP validation process. With the addition of the coating to its portfolio, Hempel can now provide a full range of coatings for every part of a wind turbine.

For more information, visit: www.hempel.com/blades.